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New sex offender ordinances will place heavier restrictions on child safety zonesSubmitted: 10/20/2017
Erin Beu
Erin Beu
Reporter/Anchor
ebeu@wjfw.com

New sex offender ordinances will place heavier restrictions on child safety zones
MINOCQUA - Pretty soon little ghosts, goblins and ghouls will hit the streets expecting tricks or treats.

However, some families may take their kids to church or club festivities as a safer way to celebrate.

Some of those places could actually attract convicted nonviolent sex offenders.

"[Kids] can't defend themselves at that age," said Minocqua vacationer and grandmother Donna Davies.

Davies thinks Halloween is a time to keep an extra eye out for sex offenders.

"With sex offenders you need to be super cautious," said Davies.

In Minocqua, there are no laws keeping nonviolent sex offenders from attending youth groups, children's activities and even boy scouts meetings.

"The public thinks sex offenders are a threat to public safety," said Minocqua Town Chairman Mark Hartzheim.

He says sex offenders are always around, but trick or treating can get dangerous.

"They're there and we don't always know they are there," said Hartzheim.

And even though there is a law against sex offenders handing out candy on Halloween, they can still attend youth Halloween festivals.

"I wouldn't rely on sex offenders to comply and not participate," said Hartzheim.

The town of Hazelhurst recently created sex offender ordinances to keep them at least 15 hundred feet from any place children may congregate.

That got Hartzheim and other town board members' attention.

"I think the general public will be surprised at how many sex offenders we have," said Hartzheim.
Minocqua will likely have the same ordinance as Hazelhurst.

However, this won't go into effect until November 7th, after the Halloween celebrations.

Therefore, parents still need to be cautious on the streets and at public gatherings.

"If I knew a sex offender lived somewhere, I wouldn't take my kids to that door," said Hartzheim.

Even though this new ordinance will keep sex offenders out and away from child safety zones, the ordinance cannot move sex offenders who are already living by these zones, only new ones that come in.

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